Burley Park Little Owls Nursery and Children’s Centre look set to get a new venue by June, writes Keely Bannister.
A council report going to next week’s decision-making Executive Board recommends the spending of £1.8 million to relocate the early year’s services from its current location off St Matthias Street to the former Burley Park Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) on Cardigan Lane, which has been empty since April 2018.
Having been operational for 47 years, the report sets out how the current building housing the nursery and children’s centre has exceeded its intended lifespan of 25 years.
It says investing the £740,000 needed to refurbish the building to address problems with drainage, windows and roof would not be value for money for the council.
The report said:
“The Burley Park Children’s Centre currently provides 134 early learning places for children living in the locality, this is around 20% of all of the under 5’s in the area.
“Family support services are working with 422 families offering universal and targeted support, including antenatal parenting courses, HENRY healthy lifestyle courses and behaviour support advice. The centre supports high numbers of children with complex SEND and families experiencing or fleeing from domestic violence.”
Going on to set out the ‘Outstanding’ rating that was given to the centre during the last Ofsted inspection in 2018, the report states:
“The whole staff team meticulously monitors the progress that children make and sets specific and sharply focused targets. These help children to make substantial progress and leads to outstanding achievement. This includes children who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities and those who receive additional funding.”
Extra space in the building will be occupied by Children’s & Families social work staff who will be relocated from a council owned building in Headingley called Shire View.
Another benefit of the relocation is the elimination of current issues caused by limited on-site parking and no dedicated spaces for parents and carers, which causes extra congestion on nearby roads.
Work to refurbish the building are expected to start on site at the former Burley Park PRU in April of 2020 with occupation of the site expected to be in June of 2020.
When both teams are relocated, the current children’s centre off St Matthias Street and the Shire View building in Headingley will be surplus to the council’s requirements with the former demolished and the latter sold.
What will happen with the land which currently features the nursery and children’s centre has yet to be decided.
You can view all documents associated with this development here.